I have spent most of the first 40 years of my life stressing out about how I look, especially how I look at the pool in a bathing suit.
As a kid I was very skinny and bony. My friends were all filling out in middle school. I got a training bra just so when I was changing for gym class I wouldn't be the only one without one. My brother's favorite nickname for me was Miss American Flatlands if that tells you anything. Hanging out at the pool was embarrassing because I was built pretty much like the diving board.
Then BOOM. The Booby Fairy visited me in high school and overnight I had more than enough to put in the bra. Which made me VERY self consicous. Suddenly boys noticed. I didn't like it. Hanging out at the pool was embarrassing because now I resembled the floats. And was the subject of a lot of attention.
My twenties were fraught with trying on bathing suits in the cold glare of the neon lights of dressing rooms. I truly believe those mirrors are from some kind of fun house. My thighs don't usually look this fluffy...or DO they? Now I was picking myself apart...This jiggles. That dimples. These bounce. Those won't stay put. Hanging out at the pool was uncomfortable because when I wasn't worried about laying out in the most flattering position I was also worried about getting a perfect tan. Sporting the perfect hair-do. Oh, the pressure.
I went to the pool today. I got to wear a modest one piece suit with a little skirty bottom. (read: comfortable) I didn't worry about getting a perfect tan. I played in the water without worrying if my suit would slip and reveal anything. I didn't care if my thighs dimpled or buns jiggled. I did however observe a group of young ladies perfectly prepped for the pool. Carefully straightened hair. Teeny bikinis that required numerous readjustments. Careful applications of suntan oil and timed 'roll-overs'. Sucking in their stomachs as they glided to the pool. None of them were smiling much.
But I was. I was thankful to be in a time of life where I truly don't care what others thought about my weight, or appearance. I was comfortable in my suit and in my skin. I had fun with my kids and laughed all afternoon.
I kinda like this middle-age thing. It's so liberating!